The time and attention of top management in an organization are critical, but limited, resources. This article develops insights on issue selling as a process that is central to explaining how and where top management allocates its time and attention. We see issue selling as a critical activity in the early stages of organizational decision-making processes. We first clarify the value of understanding issue selling at the individual and organizational levels and from both symbolic and instrumental perspectives. We then develop a framework for describing and studying issue selling in organizations that draws on three different theoretical perspectives: issue selling as upward influence, issue selling as claiming behaviors, and issue selling as impression management. We use the different perspectives to develop a set of testable research propositions. The article concludes with a discussion of practical and theoretical implications of the issue-selling framework.
Dutton, J. E., & Ashford, S. J. (1993). Selling issues to top management. Academy of management review, 18(3), 397-428.